The companies collaborated on the design which is a first – a versatile refrigerated trailer which can be loaded either by automated pallet delivery (APD) or by slower methods such as forklift trucks, thanks to a clever drop-down floor.
Finding backloads for APD trailers is challenging because they are restricted to collecting loads at bays fitted with matching APD equipment. There is a risk of damaging the APD slip-chain mechanism inside the trailer if forklifts are used.
However, the new design has a drop-down floor that is stored at ceiling height then lowered to cover and protect the slip-chain mechanism whenever loading by forklift truck is required. This makes it far easier to find backloads for return journeys – so delivers potential 40% savings on carbon emissions per pallet/mile.
“Empty running is to be avoided if at all possible because it is an extravagant use of resources.... We approached Cartwright because we knew they had the right pedigree for the job and we are delighted with the results,” says Paul Allera, head of fleet at Fowler Welch.
Each 13.6-metre trailer can carry goods at temperatures ranging from minus -6°C to ambient and can be fully loaded with 26 pallets in just 90 seconds by APD.
The slip-chain mechanism is protected by a drop-down floor constructed of aluminium alloy which contains an open mesh arrangement at the front to ensure adequate air flow from the refrigeration unit when this floor is in its normal raised position. When required, the protective floor is lowered using a hydraulic system.
Cartwright’s technical director Lionel Curtis adds: “When Fowler Welch approached us and proposed a drop-down floor as a solution for making APD trailers more flexible and efficient, we were delighted to take on the project.”